When Disney first started creating the famous Disney princess movies – usually based on centuries-old fairytales – there wasn’t a lot of differentiation between them. Snow White in the 1930s and Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty in the 1950s were all beautiful, young, docile, motherless and in need of rescue. It seemed, in fact, like much of their lives were blank slates leading up to this point where they would be rescued, fall asleep and be rescued, or whisked away from a terrible living situation (i.e., rescued).
With the Disney renaissance in the early 1990s, we were given better, more complex Disney princesses. Belle loved to read and she could go toe-to-toe with an angry Beast; Pocahontas would throw down her life and be the one doing the rescuing; Mulan would go to war to save her father. But before any of them could walk, Jasmine of 1992’s Aladdin had to run. With her stubborn streak, her defiance of convention and law, and her demand that she be the one to call the shots in her own life, rather than be ruled by any man, she made way for the princesses of the same era, as well as those who came afterwards.
Everyone has their own fave Disney princess, but these 20 reasons will tell you why Jasmine is ours.
20 She Had A Pet Tiger
Forget Cinderella’s mice, Ariel’s fish and Pocahontas’s raccoon – Jasmine had a tiger! While it’s probably not a good idea to have a wild animal as a pet – especially if it’s tearing off the seats of pants of unsuspecting people – Rajah was a loyal companion to our favourite Disney princess, and it says something about her strength and fearlessness that she was able to tame the tiger.
We also loved how Jasmine would let Rajah frighten suitors who were, well, a little too high on their horses, to really show them who was the real boss. (Hint: It was actually Rajah.)
19 She Wore Pants
With the exception of Mulan, who later wore pants as she fought with the army, Jasmine is the only Disney princess who is seen wearing pants for an extended period of time! The stylish aqua harem pants allowed our princess to move freely throughout the palace and, later, throughout the kingdom of Agrabah, without being weighed down by heavy skirts or laced into tight corsets.
We love that, through wearing pants, Jasmine was saying that she was an equal to the powerful men around her. Even at the end of the film, when she and Aladdin ride off on the magic carpet, what is she wearing? Pants!
18 She Cared About Children
After escaping the palace and walking the streets of her kingdom, where she comes face to face with the poor and mistreated, Jasmine shows her kindness – a very princess-y quality – by caring for children. Despite being a bit foolish in not paying for the apple she accidentally stole, she does it with a kind heart to feed a hungry child.
For a princess who was so ensconced in a place of privilege and wealth, and so hidden from the world that she literally had to climb over a wall to escape, we think it’s sweet that her tender heart comes out at the sight of a child.
17 She Had An Iconic Look
All of the Disney princesses have iconic looks, but Jasmine’s is one that has been done over and over again for Halloween costumes or parties, by celebrities and regular folk alike. It is truly one of the most instantly recognizable of the bunch. From the teal harem pants to the midriff-baring top to the curly-toed slippers and jeweled headband, everything about Jasmine is regal and gorgeous.
And can we talk about that hair for a moment? Thank you, Disney animators, for gifting us with such a lush, black ponytail! Finished off with heavy gold earrings and a gold choker necklace, we have a stellar princess lewk!
16 She Was Fearless
Not only did Jasmine escape the palace under the cover of night, but she was fearless once she found herself in unfamiliar territory. She runs away from the fruit seller (due to her misplaced generosity), and then has to walk across the planks that Aladdin has placed for her. However, instead of walking, Jasmine opts to pole vault from one building to the next, surprising Aladdin, Abu and probably the audience!
Jasmine didn’t even think twice about taking the more dangerous route. After all, she’s been sheltered her entire life – this was exactly what she was looking for when she left the palace!
15 She Wanted To Decide Her Own Future
In so many old Disney films, princesses were waiting around to get rescued, usually in passive positions (two of them were literally asleep, if you remember).
Jasmine was the exact opposite of that, refusing to marry simply because her father and Jafar wished it. She refused to choose a suitor when they were all so unsuitable, and refused to allow her future to be decided by men who wanted what was best for them, not her.
That powerful independent streak is one of Jasmine’s defining traits and helped usher in a new era of Disney princesses who were more empowered than their predecessors.
14 She Cared For Her Father
A habit of many Disney films is to make the princesses orphans, or, at the very least, motherless. It plays nicely with the whole “damsel in distress” trope that so many of these films seem to utilise.
With the absence of mothers, many of these Disney princesses tend to form strong, protective and almost maternal relationships with their fathers, and Jasmine falls into this category. As far as The Sultan goes, he’s not exactly the most effective leader, nor is he a great judge of character (ahem, Jafar). However, those shortcomings never stop Jasmine from trying to do the best she can by her dad, without sacrificing her own agency.
13 She Refused To Be Controlled
While The Sultan fell under the spell of Jafar, Jasmine was much more tuned into his wicked ways. Even after Jafar had the genie under his control, Jasmine refused to be the woman he wanted her to be. Despite using negative means to try to get her to marry him, Jasmine refuses to do so – and there are repeated instances of her telling him exactly that!
We love a strong princess! Her refusal to be controlled and coerced is quite impressive, especially in light of the situations she found herself in – not to mention the presence of magic.
12 She Believed In Love
For all the times that Jasmine remained unswayed by the glitz and glamour of the suitors that came knocking at her door, she did have a soft spot for love, which she discovered with Aladdin. As stipulated a few times in the film, the law requires Jasmine to marry a prince, no matter who she may actually love. This is a point of contention throughout the movie, as Jasmine declares that when she does marry, she wants it to be for love (a valid point).
It is only when The Sultan is rescued and Jafar is defeated that she is finally able to wed the person who has her heart.
11 She Was Stubborn
We’re not entirely sure what astrological sign Jasmine is, but our bets are on something like Taurus, because the girl is stubborn!
From refusing to choose a suitor based on shallow requirements like wealth or the arbitrary law of the land, to her unwillingness to back down from or bow down to Jafar’s evil deeds, to her sure knowledge of who Aladdin was and her demands that he reveal himself to her, Jasmine was never one to back down from a fight or waffle on what she believed in.
Her stubbornness is easily one of the most defining aspects of her personality and we love her for it!
10 She Used Her Privilege
Jasmine was given every opportunity to be a delicate princess, a shy damsel in distress. In fact, it would have been what The Sultan and Jafar would've preferred! Had she spent her days being wooed and admiring all of her riches, she would have been easier to deal with!
Fortunately for us (and Aladdin), Jasmine was much more astute and aware of how her rank helped her in the world. While being chased by the royal guards, Aladdin was in need of her help and it was when Jasmine revealed herself to be the princess and helped him that we saw she was interested in using her privilege for good. We love that!
9 She Was Clever
Jasmine knew what Jafar wanted from her. She knew that, to be Sultan, he needed to marry into the royal family, and that meant making a wife out of Jasmine. “Royal Vizier” is not “Sultan,” which is why Jafar had to use nefarious means, magic and trickery to gain power and control.
Jasmine quickly recognised that she needed to trick Jafar in order to give Aladdin a chance to get the lamp back. She was clever, using her feminine wiles to tempt Jafar and trick him into thinking that she’d had a sudden change of heart. She was brave, unafraid to confront him.
8 She Was Smart
Look, Jasmine knew something was up when Prince Ali showed up and looked a lot like the boy from the market with the pet monkey. She also knew that Jafar was sneaking around and planning something behind her father’s back (even if her own father couldn’t see it). She knew that she needed to disguise herself, not only to leave the palace but to walk around the market freely.
Considering other Disney princesses opted to sell their voices and not explain in writing what had happened, or move in with seven strangers in the middle of the woods, Jasmine wasn't doing too badly in the IQ department!
7 She Was Funny!
Maybe it was Aladdin’s idea, but we kind of loved it when Jasmine had to get out of the marketplace safely by being, well, a little dumb. And by little, we mean incredibly. In addition to pretending that Abu was The Sultan, to explaining her remark about knowing The Sultan personally, Jasmine talked to a camel and pretended it was her doctor!
Combined with getting her tiger Rajah to do lots of funny antics, we’d say that the girl knows her way around a joke! It wasn’t really until later Disney films that princesses could be funny.
6 She Was Adventurous
It takes a lot of courage to run away from your home and enter into the unknown, with pretty much no money to your name (which, admittedly, is definitely flawed thinking on Jasmine’s part). However, she didn’t hesitate when she went out in search of a great adventure that would show her more of the world.
It was that thirst for something new and interesting that allowed her to get on a magic carpet and fly through the sky, seeing for the first time all these places she never knew. Was it reckless? Absolutely! But, when the opportunity to fly on a magic carpet comes along, you don’t say no.
5 She Was Full Of Surprises
Unlike other Disney princesses, especially the older generation, Jasmine was a multifaceted character. She was full of surprises, like pole-vaulting from one building to another (after only seeing it done once, no less) and luring Jafar in order to save Aladdin, to choosing someone to love who wasn’t a prince or even a nobleman.
By comparison, other Disney princesses simply sang, looked pretty and waited to be rescued. It really wasn’t until the Disney revival that began in the early 1990s that we got to see princesses as heroines and actually interesting people, and Jasmine was a big part of that.
4 She Wasn’t Shallow
When Aladdin arrived as Prince Ali, complete with 75 golden camels, 53 purple peacocks and 95 white Persian monkeys, the people of Agrabah were impressed. They flocked to the streets to see this man walk to the princess’s door with all of his riches. Jasmine, on the other hand, had seen it all before and wasn’t impressed. Many wealthy men had come to call on her and none had intrigued her, so why would this one?
The princess wasn’t shallow and wasn’t lured in by the promise of wealth and status (because, duh, she had both already!). She said from the get-go that she wanted to marry for love and she meant it.
3 She Called Out Aladdin
Jasmine already had an inkling that Prince Ali was not who he said he was, and told him so after their magic carpet ride, demanding why he didn’t tell her the truth. Of course, Aladdin covered up his true identity by explaining that he was, in fact, a prince, but that he had dressed as a peasant in order to experience a normal life and go where he pleased.
The two bonded over their supposed shared love of disguises, but even later in the film when she learned who he truly was, Jasmine accepted him and loved him despite whatever lack of status he possessed.
2 She Was A Rebel
Refusing to abide by her father’s wishes, Jasmine was a total teenage rebel. She snuck out of her home at night, she flew around on a magic carpet with someone who was pretty much a stranger, she ignored royal decrees and demands, she had a pet tiger that scared away anyone who came to woo her and she refused to abide by the law that demanded she marry a prince.
By Disney standards, all of this makes her a total rebel! She wasn’t the kind of princess she was supposed to be, which makes us love her that much more, because she was the princess we needed her to be.
1 She Was A Total Feminist
Is there a Disney quote that is quite as powerful and decidedly feminist as what Jasmine says when she overhears The Sultan, Jafar and Aladdin discussing her future? She interrupts and says, “How dare you! All of you standing around, deciding my future? I am not a prize to be won!” We think not!
Jasmine reiterates the idea of being a “prize” when she asks if she is a “fine prize for any prince to marry.” The girl knows what she wants – and what she doesn’t. For making her own rules and insisting that she be in charge of her own life, she’s a total feminist.